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Africa Signs Digital Revolution in Public Procurement Declaration

Thirteen heads of Public Procurement Regulatory Authorities from Africa have signed a declaration committing to use innovative technologies in order to enhance public procurement processes in their respective countries.

The Digital Revolution in Public Procurement declaration was signed following a two-day Global Public Procurement Conference held in Washington DC from 18-19 September. The declaration set the basis for collaboration between the regional member countries of the Bank and the multilateral organizations on public procurement initiatives.

The meeting was hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IaDB) in collaboration with the African Development Bank.

Other participating institutions included the World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Network on Government Procurement, the International Development Research Center, the Organization of American States, and the Open Contract Partnership.

Over 300 delegates from 83 nations attended the conference on behalf of several procurement agencies. Representatives from the Bank’s Fiduciary Services and Inspection Department (SNFI) led the African delegation to the event.

Acknowledging the disruptive influence of advanced technology on the procurement industry, the delegates affirmed the deepening capacity of technology to inject efficiency, effectiveness, competition and transparency into the procurement process. e-procurement solutions and systems are also enabling countries to achieve the best value for money.

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The theme of the conference, ‘Towards the Digital Frontier’, set the tone for discussions about innovation and leveraging technology for public procurement and information sharing.

Participants shared insights on emerging e-procurement initiatives and policies, disruptive technology in public procurement, adopting and implementing new technologies, data management and strategic marketing for digital reform, amongst others.

In a separate discussion on the sidelines of the conference, representatives of the Bank and the African delegates also mooted the idea of establishing an African Public Procurement Network that would explore and seek to implement pan-African, regional and country-specific e-procurement initiatives.

Alexandre Meira da Rosa, Vice President for Countries at the IaDB welcomed delegates to the conference.

Saer Niang, representing the Procurement Regulatory Authority from Senegal, underscored the importance of African leaders in procurement meeting at such an international event.

“Africa is at the crossroads of development. This conference provides an important networking opportunity and is an eye-opener for many African countries in modernizing their procurement function,” he said.

While appraising their respective journeys to digitalization, the conference provided participants an excellent opportunity to share best practices and discuss the new technology issues reshaping the global and regional procurement landscapes.

The conference supports the Bank’s High 5 priorities. It also aligns with the new procurement framework of the Bank, which became effective as of 1st January 2016. The framework establishes technology innovation as the basis for modern procurement function amongst its member countries.

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Emphasizing the commitment of the Bank to the continent’s electronic procurement journey, the Bank’s Lead Procurement Policy Officer, Ashraf Ayad said: “The African Development Bank’s new procurement framework encourages the application of new technologies and promotes the use of electronic procurement.

“Our countries in Africa are at different levels of adopting electronic Government Procurement and any other form of new information system, which will facilitate and make much more efficient countries’ procurement activities.”

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